Monday, April 22, 2013

The Ijiraat

According to Inuit mythology, the Ijiraat are spirits of the earth and shapeshifters. They are very elusive, and can transform themselves into any kind of arctic animal in order to conceal themselves from humans. They are known to take the form of a wolf, a bear, a raven, or even a person. However, the eyes of these creatures remain a creepy red color. Whether these spirits take human or animal form, their eyes remain the same. These creatures are perfectly adapted for moving through the frozen landscape both quickly and easily. They are known for catching the natives off guard almost constantly.

The Ijiraat are usually portrayed as being malicious or even evil in most stories, and often lie in wait for travelers. Then, they change forms to get close enough to the travelers so that they may (presumably) kill and devour them. Some say that they are committed to killing any Inuit they come across.
Some Inuit elders say that these land spirits are not evil or even malicious, but are instead misunderstood. One warned that the spirits are surrounded by mirages or illusions, and when distant mountains or even islands appear to be closer than they actually are, the Ijiraat might be close by. Others believe that these spirits appear in order to bring messages to travelers, warning them of danger or trouble to come.
Regardless of the many interpretations of the Ijiraat, one common theme among those who encounter these spirits seems to be that those people experience sudden memory loss. In other words, they quickly forget what happened. If one encounters an Ijiraat, he should write down the experience as soon as possible (and quickly, too). Also, speaking to as many people as possible about the encounter seems to work as well.

Inuit Mythology: Mahaha, Tuniit, and Other Creatures

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